I'm in desperate need of some help. I've got deadlines piling up and progress is stagant. I'm facing a writing problem I've never encountered before. I've got a collection of stories I'm working on. In all of the stories, I feel I have a firm grasp of who my characters are, the world they live in, and the events of the story. In theory everything is fine, but when I put pen to paper everything falls apart. Nothing flows.
I'm not sure what's causing these problems, but I haven't much time to fix them. I imagine I'm a little stressed out with trying to balance the demands of writing with the looming prospects of graduation and various social concerns. Unfortunately, I can't shut myself away in a cabin for a month which is probably what I need most right now -- though venting always helps.
Thanks for listening, or reading as the case may be.
April 1st, 2006, 10:35 PM
I had a similar problem the first time I tried to write a novel. It took me three attempts to get the thing started, and I think I know why. Just like you, I had the story mapped out and the characters ready to go, but the first two attempts both stalled after about 5000 words. This was because I was trying to write in a style I thought people would want to read, but not in the way I really wanted to write. On the third attempt I let myself write how I wanted to, found my 'voice' if you like, and hey-presto, things got a lot easier.
Maybe you're having the same sort of problem?
April 1st, 2006, 10:44 PM
It's quite possible. I was planning on writing each story in a different voice, and it might very well be those "planned" voices that are causing me so much trouble. I've toyed around with changing some of the voices recently and started making more progress. On one story in particular, I reverted back to the "original" voice, the way I originally wanted to write the story until I had a prof recommend narrowing the focus down. That story seems to be moving along well. Of course, it might be a big mess by the time I'm all done. Weaving three POVs into one short story could get ugly fast, especially when you're writing something that amounts to the Iliad meets Operation: Iraqi Freedom (as told by a family in 17th Century).
April 2nd, 2006, 01:15 AM
You're stressing yourself out.
Take a break. Get a little fresh air. Have a coffee break.
When you come back, sit down and just write down anything that comes to mind for five minutes.
When you're done, start again on your stories.
April 3rd, 2006, 12:13 AM
Agreed. Stress will block you fast.
Personally, I don't suffer from writer's block because I've let go on my first drafts. The first draft of a story is just to get the story out. You don't need to make it perfect, to have the voice just right, etc, etc. Just write the story.
When you edit, you can refine the voice, improve lines, write the missing scenes, fix character flaws, all that. Just sit, relax, and let the story out. Don't fret if it isn't right because you're not going to send out a first draft, you're going to send out a refined draft (after three or four passes).
April 3rd, 2006, 10:12 PM
Thanks for the advice. I have been stressed out lately. Took some time to destress this weekend and I'm feeling a lot betters. Thanks for listening.